A new procedure now available at the Ulster Hospital in Co Down may help to reduce unnecessary admissions.
The advanced endoscopy service will allow patients to be treated as a day case, rather than being admitted to undergo a surgical procedure.
The endoscopy now being offered at the hospital can help patients with complex colorectal lesions, as well as with diagnosing early colorectal cancers.
In 2019-2021, 264 patients were treated for colorectal cancer in the South Eastern Trust, a number of whom would have had a suspected polyp cancer or an early colorectal cancer diagnosis.
Traditionally, complex polyps would require surgery involving a general anaesthetic and an average post-operative stay of four to five days.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.
South Eastern Trust director of surgery Maggie Parks said the service will help save on bed space.
"This is a wonderful service development for patients, as they can be treated safely and effectively as a day case and no longer require an inpatient surgical admission," she said.
"This also has added benefits for the Trust, allowing for a more efficient service and saving on bed days.
"The South Eastern Trust is the only hospital in Northern Ireland regularly performing this advanced endoscopy resection procedure and its results are on par with world-leading centres."
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